Sour cherry juice may help you get a good night's sleep. Cherry juice increases the levels of melatonin and tryptophan, which increases the duration of sleep.
Drinking a glass of 240 ml of sour cherry juice in the morning and another at night can help people fall asleep and increase the duration of their sleep in an average of 84 minutes, according to a study carried out by Frank Greenway, of the University State of Louisiana (United States).
The effects are due to the cherries' content of melatonin - a sleep hormone - and proanthocyanidins, which improve the absorption of the amino acid tryptophan, which also influences the chemistry of nighttime rest.
33 to 50% of Spaniards over 65 consider that they do not sleep well. This problem is related to poor rest, fatigue during the day, and consumption of medications that are not free of side effects. In older people, the consumption of sleeping pills multiplies the risk of falls.
Given this problem, which is similar in the United States, Dr. Greenway's team decided to test the effect of cherries on sleep. To do this, he recruited 7 people with an average age of 68 years and who suffered sleep disturbances at least three nights a week. These people had to drink 480 ml of sour cherry juice - of the Montmorency variety - each day for two weeks.
The researchers subjected the participants to different tests before, during and after the study by monitoring their brain's electrical activity, eye movements, muscle activation, and heart rhythm. This allowed them to evaluate the quantity and quality of their sleep.
The results indicated that sleep time increased by one and a half hours.
Montmorency cherries and Balaton cherries are a natural source of melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep and wake cycle. They also favor an increase in tryptophan, the amino acid precursors of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with stress control and a sense of well-being.